Bites: Zinc Debut at Public Square 

And more local food news

Making its debut next week, Zinc Bistro, Bar and Bakery (668 Euclid Ave., 216-583-9462, zinccleveland.com) is the most ambitious opening between Public Square and the PlayhouseSquare in a long time. Helmed by chef Tom Quick, who ran the popular Epiq Bistro in Concord for 10 years, Zinc is modeled after the ebullient French bistros found throughout New York City.

The restaurant is the final phase in the $65 million Six Six Eight Euclid project in the former William Taylor Son & Co. department store building. Zinc borrows numerous design elements from eateries like SoHo's Balthazar. The 4,000-square-foot space boasts 17-foot ceilings, curved burgundy-clad booths, antiqued mirrors, and travertine floors. A zinc-topped bar, which runs the length of the room, features European-style beer taps and a built-in raw bar. Diners seated on the second-level mezzanine have views of the entire room.

"We're not trying to reinvent too much here," explains Quick. "There will be some slight design changes, but you'll know you're walking into a Manhattan French bistro."

If the room doesn't tip a diner off, the menu assuredly will: Traditional bistro staples like onion soup, escargot, and beef tartare are all on hand, as is coq au vin, steak frites, and Dover sole for two. An all-day retail bakery will offer salads, sandwiches, and pastries.

Zinc abuts the new plaza that was created by the removal of the Dollar Bank building. The restaurant's outdoor bar and patio promises to be one of the sweetest in town.

Last year's Cleveland Food Rocks benefit at the Beachland Ballroom was, by all accounts, a rollicking good time. But this year's Chef Jam is on pace to make it look bush league by comparison. To be held Sunday, June 13, at the Rock Hall, this year's soiree can accommodate 1,000 people rain or shine. Yes, tickets have doubled in price ($50), but admission now includes food, beer, wine, music (Todd Rundgren), and access to the museum's exhibits. Two dozen of CLE's finest chowhouses will be serving up music-inspired dishes like Dante Boccuzzi's LSD (lemon-scented donuts on blotter) and Jon Bennett's Dark Side of the Moon Pies.

"We chefs do every fundraiser under the sun for good causes," explains Crop's Steve Schimoler. "This is the first one that is designed to help promote the restaurants." Visit clevelandfoodrocks.com for more info. Save yourself the Ticketmaster fees by buying at the Rock Hall box office before the day of the event.

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